JOHN TEJADA with MARIO J , NITIN and TERENCE KISSNER at Footwork (425 Adelaide West), Saturday (July 8). $15 before 11:30 pm, more after. 416-913-3488, www.afesociety.com. Rating: NNNNN
Los Angeles isn't known for its electronic music scene, but in some ways working outside the restrictions an established scene can impose may have helped John Tejada develop his fluid identity as a producer and DJ.
He's best known for crafting quirky, melodic dance-floor tracks that float somewhere between techno's experimentalism and house's nostalgic comfort, but he has also experimented with drum 'n' bass rhythms and has an ongoing post-rock-influenced side project called I Am Not A Gun with guitarist Takeshi Nishimoto.
Over the past decade or so he's released records on more than a dozen labels, but has been moving toward keeping his output on his own label, Palette Recordings.
"These days, if I choose to work with another label it would have to be with a very close friend. I like to try to keep everything in the family, so to speak. My goal is to keep most of my music, and that's what I mean when I say this. I don't try to get on other labels; just sometimes, if the situation is right, I like to work with my friends.
"Now, remixes are another issue, of course. These do appear on other labels, but it's just a remix. Still, I am now feeling the same way about remixes that I do about my own music."
Keeping his releases to himself also frees him to follow his own musical impulses. As with the wide range of styles he's dipped his feet into, he's also approached the process of making music with an appetite for variety. For a while he dove into the whole digital DJ revolution, but has since gone back to good old vinyl.
Similarly, his production methods have also moved from hardware-based studio to software-focused method and back to actual gear with real knobs and sliders.
"I did do the software thing when that was new and it blew my mind, but it sort of ran its course for me. I have actually moved completely to a hardware studio again. Everything is synthesized from scratch, and it's just way more fun for me to work with. I still use a computer to multi-track the audio from the hardware, but the instruments and most effects are all hardware."